Whether you own a business or a residence, as a Los Angeles property owner, you are liable for maintaining a safe environment for people who are lawfully visiting your property. Maintaining a safe environment includes preventing slip and fall accidents. You are responsible for regularly assessing the structures, sidewalks, parking lots, and land you own for possible hazards. If a hazard is identified, you must make a reasonable effort to restore the safety of your property. Otherwise, someone who slips and falls could slap you as the property owner with a premises liability lawsuit that costs tens of thousands, if not millions, in legal fees, settlements, or damage awards.
Find out what you can do to decrease the likelihood of pedestrians injuring themselves on your property.
Set aside funds for sidewalk and parking lot repairs.
Sidewalks are a common site for slip and fall accidents — even in places like Los Angeles, where ice and snow removal isn’t a factor. Cracked, uneven sidewalks are a preventable tripping hazard. City officials used to set aside money for the maintenance of our sidewalks, but started taking their chances after the 2008 recession, when funds became tight. In the end, they wound up paying far more on damage control than they would have paid in preventative measures. It took a lawsuit filed by attorneys on behalf of the disabled and over $6 million in trip-and-fall payouts in less than four years to finally prompt Los Angeles leaders to take action. City Council has pledged $1.3 billion to cover repairs of 40% of all publicly-owned LA sidewalks.
If you own a business, train your employees.
A workplace environment is always changing. However, failure to adequately train employees on how to recognize and repair fall hazards is a major cause of property owner liability in slip and fall accident cases. You should instruct all employees to wear shoes that are compatible with flooring surfaces in their work areas. Smart employers implement regular safety inspection checklists and outline the procedures for rectifying spills or damage. The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) run by the U.S. Department of Labor is a good starting point for developing a structured program that limits liability.
If you are a homeowner, ask for proof of insurance for all day laborers.
While plausible, it’s a rare scenario for a friend or relative to visit, sustain a fall that leads to serious injury, and then file a premises liability lawsuit. Most of the time, these incidents are resolved without the courts getting involved. One of the more common scenarios is the homeowner who hires a day laborer, but fails to ask for proof of insurance before work commences on the property. Roofers, carpenters, landscapers, dry wall contractors, painters, house cleaners, plumbers, electricians, movers, tree trimmers, and other workers can sue the homeowner if they suffer a fall and do not have adequate insurance through their employers. Ask to see a Certificate of Liability Insurance, and then call the agent listed on the card to verify that the insurance has not expired. Check to see that the business is a member of the Better Business Bureau, which means they have met licensing, bonding, and insurance standards.
Need a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer?
If you have have questions about your legal rights in the wake of a fall on someone else’s property, contact the Salamati Law Firm today for a free case review. The experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at our firm have helped plaintiffs recover just compensation when property owner negligence has been a factor. Contact us for a complimentary case evaluation today.
Additional “slip and fall accident prevention” resources:
- LA Times – L.A. Agrees To Spend $1.3 Billion To Fix Sidewalks In ADA Case, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lawsuit-broken-sidewalks-20150331-story.html#page=1
- OSHA – Slips, Trips, Falls Training Material, https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy06/46e0-ht10-06.html
- Net Quote – How to ensure your contractor is bonded and insured, http://www.netquote.com/home-insurance/bonded-and-insured-contractors